More heartbreaking stories from Africa of the treatment meted out to those accused of witchcraft. This time, a Kenyan father who was beaten by his own sons after being accused by his estranged wife of being a sorcerer. Tied to a tree his sons beat him so badly he lost four teeth. They then tied him up in the barn – so that they could burn him when night fell. Luckily, he managed to escape and make his way to the local police chief. The Daily Nation carries the full account of what happened.
Police say 20 people have been killed in the Milandi district in Kenya over the last two years because they were believed to be witches. Another 39 people have fled to the relative safety of a camp at Kaya Godoma, nicknamed ”witch village” due to the number of accused in residence there. For the most part, it is close relatives and family that have levelled accusations against them and indeed, beaten them. Most have had to flee to the camp to avoid death.
Extreme poverty is a contributing factor to the allegations of witchcraft. Everything from sickness, failed relationships, love and poverty itself is blamed on witches. Before, accused witches underwent a test and if they failed it, underwent a process that stripped them of their ”powers”. That test and process was carried out by the village elders. But now, the killing of suspected witches has become much more common.
The local police chief believes witchcraft accusations are levelled because of family disputes and revenge reasons. Economic factors play a big part too. The killing of elderly people to avoid supporting them has not been ruled out as a factor in a number of cases.